Eric Foster, creating music under the pseudonym Formula 56, is an independent musician from the San Francisco Bay Area. Born in 1989, Foster began writing and performing lyrics as a high school freshman. Combining intricate lyrics influenced by the hip hop underground with indie pop and EDM inspired instrumentals 2014’s ‘Rapid Transit’ is the ambitious solo debut from Formula 56.
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your musical background? What encouraged you to create your pseudonym (Formula 56) and begin releasing music under that name?
Eric Foster: Writing in general, but song lyrics specifically is always something that came natural to me, the rapping was something me and my friends did just hanging out (our early work was not pretty), but hip hop was a cool, unexpected outlet that I got kinda good at, if I may say so. The pseudonym actually comes from my name, Eric Foster (the 5th and 6th letters of the alphabet,) Formula just added a ‘science’ element to the whole thing.
ET: What can you tell us about growing up in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento area? How has the area influenced you, both musically and personally?
EF: Growing up in the Bay Area had a huge influence on my style, but also the outlook of it all, some of the most impressive independent artists are out here: Andre Nickatina, Zion I, The Pack (Lil B the Basegod), even the bigger names like E-40 and Too $hort are still deeply rooted in the bay.
ET: Who are your biggest musical influences? How are you able to combine such different genres (EDM, indie pop, and hip-hop) to create your own unique sound?
EF: Other than the above, everything can inspire me good music is good music I guess Atmosphere, Swollen Members, right now Sadstik from Seattle is constantly on my playlist, Linkin Park was huge from the songwriting stage – the idea of saying these really deep things in an ambiguous way that anyone can access. The inspiration is everywhere and I always want to do something that doesn’t sound like the last record you heard.
ET: What life experiences and events led to the writing and recording of your debut album “Rapid Transit”? How does this new record differ or expand on your previous release “Carry On/Where You At”? Also, what can you tell us about the two singles you’ve previously released (‘Can’t Stop Rockin” and ‘Knock On the Sky’)?
EF: I think Rapid Transit was a huge step for me in terms of growth, a lot of my personal life is on that album. I didn’t want to make a cliche party record but I didn’t want to weigh the listener down with a ton of self loathing, what I didn’t know at the time is that almost every song has a polar opposite on that album – ‘Party Tonight’ has ‘Fallin’/’Heart and Soul’ has ‘La Nina’, etc. I guess Rapid Transit is my entire post adolescence in a nutshell. I think that the previous EP was the same idea on a smaller scale. As for Can’t Stop Rockin’ and Knock on the Sky, I was too far into the later stage of Rapid Transit if I let myself add to it I never would have released it, so those songs ended up being cut from the same cloth, but released on their own.
ET: What has it been like to collaborate and work with so many different other producers and musicians on your musical compositions? Do you see yourself continuing to operate in this manner?
EF: I actually wrote almost every lyric on Rapid Transit myself (Sean Divine wrote his hook on Party Tonight, and Sinima provided the chorus on Carry On’) As a song writer it’s important to know when I need to bring help in, for the good of the song I need some ‘real’ singers to really amp up the production values and everyone really stepped up on Rapid Transit. As for producers, I have a little group I go to, that won’t change anytime soon. Different producers and their different influences is vital to my creative process.